Many of the cruise ships are passing by Picton Harbour in New Zealand because it is one of the most beautiful entering a harbour by ship. It is more than three hours entering by sea in Southern Island. The amazing view of green steep hills, hidden islands, private beaches and calm blue water of the sea with a great variety of marine life is one of the perfect explanation of Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand. The charming small town of Picton situated in a natural seaside harbour on the magnificent Queen Charlotte Sound is a perfect point to start your adventure in Southern New Zealand.
Breathtaking coastline of Marlborough Sounds
If you are in Picton I will definitely recommend you to take a small touristic boat and to explore as much as you can the coastline, because most of these so famous Sounds are accessible only by water. There is no roads or anything else to reach some of the private hotels or vacation cottages situated over the steep forested hills with small ports private access to the water. If you look into the water you will be surprised by how rich is the bay, full of such a variety of marine life and birds. You can just listen to the beautiful songs of the birds which are getting louder from the echo between the steep lush hills. In a sunny day, you can just go in one of these amazing sounds, just to lay onto lake-like water, to listen to the songs or to just throw a piece of bread into the water in order to see how fertile is the bay. If you do so hundreds of different kind and size fishes will appear in a second for the bread fiesta. There are also a lot of jellyfish, but if you just watch them from the boat you will be amazed how beautiful they can be.
One of the most interesting facts about the Marlborough Sounds is that they are drowned river valleys which were flooded by increasing sea level thousands of years ago and all the steep hills, covered by trees nowadays are actually the tops and ridges of an ancient range of mountains. Most of the small boat tours are making a cruise around the pristine bays of Queen Charlotte Sound which is really beautiful and relaxing trip far from everything you can imagine in our life – just perfect calmness. If you are more active it is a good idea for you to take a kayak and to make your trip even closer to the coast and to the water in order to have a perfect point to enjoy the wildlife of New Zealand.
Panoramic town of Blenheim
A really short drive from Picton you can reach a small sunny town with amazing beautiful harbour surrounded by a breathtaking view of mountains, many yachts, and calm water. There is a perfect spot also for swimming because the place is with shallow and crystal clear water. But one of the most beautiful things is that the drive could be amazing because there are many magnificent spots from which you can see all the bay surrounded by steep hills. It is really something you should put on your travel bucket list. The town of Blenheim is considered as the heart of the Marlborough wine region.
Taste the wine of Marlborough
Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest grape and wine producing region. The most famous wine is Sauvignon blanc, so take your time to taste it. You can make a short trip around wineries, so don’t miss Wither Hills, Brancott and Cloudy Bay wineries. You can also enjoy their chardonnay, pinot noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurztraminer varieties of wines. A day spent around the wineries will give you a possibility to enjoy the scenic views of vineyards and nice and cute restaurants that you can have a traditional New Zealand lunch combined with a wine tasting option. The interesting thing about the region is that actually the first vines were planted in the region in1973, but nowadays it is the largest New Zealand wine producing region.
Culture and traditions of Maori people
If you are interested in the culture and traditions in the Marlborough region is good to have some time to visit the Maori people at Omaka Marae. It is a cultural centre and a spiritual meeting place for the locals. The people of Maori arrived from Eastern Polynesia during the 13th century, bringing with them Polynesian cultural customs and beliefs. Many stories from Māori mythology are similar to the stories across the Pacific Ocean. Click to see more here
The picturesque seaside town of Picton
In your trip don’t miss to explore the small cute town of Picton. The town is named after Sir Thomas Picton who was the Welsh military officer who served under the Duke of Wellington. There are actually towns in Canada and Australia which are also named after him and there is a Picton Island in South America. So he was really valuable and a brave officer from the British Army, but he was killed at the Battle of Waterloo.
Nowadays the cute town of Picton, New Zealand is a nice stop for shopping, eating a portion of local seafood or just walk along the Picton waterfront among the sailing boats and yachts. You can explore also Picton Community Museum, EcoWorld Aquarium or just to visit Edwin Fox Maritime Museum. The small cute restaurants in town offer fresh seafood like clams or farm-raised salmon and mussels from the clean waters of Marlborough Sound. So in Picton, you can enjoy a perfect romantic dinner with a nice glass of New Zealand wine on sunset with a beautiful view.
Interesting and useful facts for New Zealand:
The tipping is not customary or expected in New Zealand.
If you are coming in any port by sea you should know that due to port regulations, it is not permitted to walk in the port area. So New Zealand is providing a complimentary shuttle bus from the ship to downtown.
New Zealand Law prohibits the following items you to enter the country: fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, prepared food or dairy products and any consumable food items, flowers, seeds, and plants.
- If you land in New Zealand by sea, the locals welcome you with a boutonniere of fresh local flowers.